Blog https://www.publiccharters.org/ en 3 Things to Know About Charter School Enrollment During the Pandemic https://www.publiccharters.org/latest-news/2021/09/22/3-things-know-about-charter-school-enrollment-during-pandemic <span>3 Things to Know About Charter School Enrollment During the Pandemic</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/brittnee" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Brittnee</span></span> <span>Mon, 09/20/2021 - 17:48</span> <div class="uppercase field field--name-field-news-item-types field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/latest-news/category/blog" hreflang="en">Blog</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-author-bio field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/about-us/staff/brittnee-exum" hreflang="en">Brittnee Exum</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-pub-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2021-09-22T12:00:00Z">September 22, 2021</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image-media field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><article class="media media-image view-mode-display"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/images/2021-09/Staff%20and%20families%20at%20Rainier%20Valley%20Leadership%20Academy%20in%20Washington%20State.png?itok=wAy6f2R3" width="250" height="250" alt="Staff and families at Rainier Valley Leadership Academy in Washington State" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> </article> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>America’s public charter school sector is expanding and meeting the needs of families and students. Data obtained by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools indicates charter school enrollment grew 7% in the 2020-21 school year, while district public school enrollment decreased in every state. </p> <p>Parents voted with their feet when it came to education—and chose high-quality public educational options that better fit their children’s needs.  </p> <h3><strong>1. Enrollment in Public Charter Schools is Up—Way Up </strong></h3> <p>Charter schools now serve approximately 3.5 million students. An analysis conducted across 42 states by the National Alliance demonstrated a 7% increase from the 2019-20 to 2020-21 school year. More than 240,000 students were newly enrolled in public charter schools.   </p> <h3><strong>2. Overall Enrollment in Public Schools is Down </strong></h3> <p>The U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics reported in June of 2021 that enrollment in public schools plummeted, “by its largest margin in at least two decades.” According to Education Week, every state experienced a dip in enrollment—overall losing <a href="https://www.edweek.org/leadership/more-than-1-million-students-didnt-enroll-during-the-pandemic-will-they-come-back/2021/06">1.4 million students</a>.  </p> <h3><strong>3. Families are Making Lasting Changes  </strong> </h3> <p>The National Parents Union surveyed parents during the 2020-21 school year. <a href="https://nationalparentsunion.org/npu-polling/">Results show </a><a href="https://nationalparentsunion.org/npu-polling/">80% of parents had an eye-opening experience</a> that led to increased parental involvement and the desire to have more engagement with the schools to provide input regarding their child’s education. This became especially important during the pandemic, where many parents sought more public school options for their students. And like many things in our changing world, there is little to no desire to return to “business as usual.” </p> <p>This includes parents like Tallahassee father, Matt Mohler, who knew it was time for a change after watching his children struggle through online learning at a district school in his community. He enrolled his five children, all under age 10, in Tallahassee Classical Charter School, where he was blown away by his children’s progress at their new school.</p> <blockquote> <h4>For additional information, including data and parent testimonies, read <a href="https://www.publiccharters.org/enrollment">Voting With Their Feet: A State-level Analysis of Public Charter School and District Public School Enrollment Trends</a>.  </h4> </blockquote> <p><em>Brittnee Exum is the manager of communications and marketing at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.</em></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/enrollment" hreflang="en">enrollment</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/enrollment-share" hreflang="en">enrollment share</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <h2>Comments</h2> <div class="fb-comments" data-href="https://www.publiccharters.org/latest-news/2021/09/22/3-things-know-about-charter-school-enrollment-during-pandemic" data-width="100%" data-numposts="5"></div> </section> Mon, 20 Sep 2021 21:48:30 +0000 Brittnee 27956 at https://www.publiccharters.org Three Things I Learned During My Internship as a Charter School Alum https://www.publiccharters.org/latest-news/2021/09/08/three-things-i-learned-during-my-internship-charter-school-alum <span>Three Things I Learned During My Internship as a Charter School Alum</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/melinda" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Melinda</span></span> <span>Tue, 09/07/2021 - 13:34</span> <div class="uppercase field field--name-field-news-item-types field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/latest-news/category/blog" hreflang="en">Blog</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-author-bio field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/about-us/jasmine-guan" hreflang="en">Jasmine Guan</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-pub-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2021-09-08T12:00:00Z">September 8, 2021</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image-media field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><article class="media media-image view-mode-display"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/images/2021-09/Student%20stock%20image%20%281%29.png?itok=rw2WPvu_" width="250" height="250" alt="Students at lunch table" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> </article> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><span><span><span><span><span>I’ve always been a strong advocate for public charter schools. That's because I went to </span></span><a href="https://www.kipp.org/school/kipp-king-collegiate-high-school/"><span><span>KIPP King Collegiate</span></span></a><span><span>, a public charter high school in San Lorenzo, California. I’ll always be grateful to my school for changing my life for the better.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>As a proud charter school alumna, I’ve never felt more prepared and supported to advance my career as a first-generation college student. I am honored to be a part of the charter community, and I will eternally be grateful to my parents for making the best decision for me.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>It was KIPP’s Alumni Internship Program that helped me connect with the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools as an intern this summer. The internship not only provided me with valuable experience for my future career, but it also reinforced my belief in the critical role that charter schools play in public education.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>Every month has taught me something new and I’d like to share some of my highlights and lessons learned:</span></span></span></span></span></p> <h3><span><span><span><strong><span><span>There is always more to learn.</span></span></strong> </span></span></span></h3> <p><span><span><span><span><span>As part of my internship, I had the opportunity to attend and be behind the scenes at the 2021 National Charter School Conference, an annual event for charter school educators and advocates across the country held by the National Alliance. I learned firsthand how the National Alliance plays an important role in the community of charter schools and in providing resources to all students and teachers. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>One session that stood out to me was “Teaching While Traumatized,' presented by educators from the Statesmen College Preparatory Academy for Boys in Washington, D.C. In this session, I learned about adverse childhood experience scores, why they matter, and how charter schools can support teachers. Returning to the new normal can be mentally taxing on everyone and, with teachers being one of the important components, there needs to be a focus on mental wellbeing. Teachers deserve to be appreciated and checked in on. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <h3><span><span><span><strong><span><span>Charter school students, leaders, and teachers are changing the world.</span></span></strong> </span></span></span></h3> <p><span><span><span><span><span>Earlier this year, the National Alliance recognized 30 Under 30 Changemakers--students, alumni, teachers, and school leaders at charter schools who are changing the world today. To amplify their efforts, I wrote and published a blog post, </span></span><a href="https://www.publiccharters.org/latest-news/2021/07/13/words-wisdom-five-under-30-changemakers"><span>Words of Wisdom From 5 Under 30 Changemakers</span></a><span><span>. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>My blog post demonstrates the positive world-changing effect of the individuals in the charter school community, including in their own communities. I hope through my writing at the National Alliance, I have contributed a positive voice to the charter community alongside parent, teacher, student, and leader advocates. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <h3><span><span><span><strong><span><span>Charter schools need advocacy more than ever.</span></span></strong></span></span></span></h3> <p>I also assisted with the blog post, <a href="https://www.publiccharters.org/latest-news/2021/07/01/celebrating-state-charter-school-legislative-success-2021"><span>Celebrating State Charter School Legislative Success in 2021</span></a><span><span>, which gave insight into the landscape for charter schools in states across the country. To my surprise, there is a strong opposition towards charter schools in legislative houses across states, despite the fact that charter schools work for students like me.</span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>I am against the actions that are taking place to stop charter schools from getting the resources they need and recognize the National Alliance’s role in protecting charter school students from political headwinds. I have come away from this internship able to be a better advocate for these schools and students as well. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>I firmly agree with the National Alliance’s mission and values that every student deserves an excellent education. As a student who attended both district and charter schools, I am so glad my community had both options available to my family. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>Often, I am reminded of my charter school experiences and how without them, I would not be the person I am today. Now I can add the national organization advocating for charter schools to that list too. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p> </p> <p><span><span><span><em><span><span>Jasmine Guan is the 2021 summer communications intern at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools and an alum of KIPP King Collegiate Charter School. </span></span></em></span></span></span></p></div> <section> <h2>Comments</h2> <div class="fb-comments" data-href="https://www.publiccharters.org/latest-news/2021/09/08/three-things-i-learned-during-my-internship-charter-school-alum" data-width="100%" data-numposts="5"></div> </section> Tue, 07 Sep 2021 17:34:19 +0000 Melinda 27845 at https://www.publiccharters.org New Schools, New Opportunities for Success: Whatcom Intergenerational High School https://www.publiccharters.org/latest-news/2021/08/30/new-schools-new-opportunities-success-whatcom-intergenerational-high-school <span>New Schools, New Opportunities for Success: Whatcom Intergenerational High School</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/melinda" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Melinda</span></span> <span>Thu, 08/26/2021 - 13:57</span> <div class="uppercase field field--name-field-news-item-types field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/latest-news/category/blog" hreflang="en">Blog</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-author-bio field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/about-us/staff/brittnee-exum" hreflang="en">Brittnee Exum</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-pub-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2021-08-30T12:00:00Z">August 30, 2021</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image-media field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><article class="media media-image view-mode-display"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/images/2021-08/individual-schools_batch2_v1_BellinghamWA_250x250%20copy.png?itok=2P_R65s3" width="250" height="250" alt="Newly opening this fall: Whatcom Intergenerational High School in Bellingham, WA" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> </article> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Whatcom Intergenerational High School (WIHS) is a tuition-free public charter high school serving Bellingham, Washington. WIHS incorporates the First Peoples Principles of Learning as a way of broadening perspectives and embracing many ways of knowing. By practicing these principles, the school fosters student growth that supports the self, family, elders, community, and the land. </p> <p>WIHS will open in September to an inaugural class of 60 9th and 10th graders. Over the next few years, the school will add grades 11-12. One of our <a href="https://www.publiccharters.org/about-charter-schools/charter-school-trailblazers/30-under-30-changemakers-award">30 Under 30 Changemakers</a>, Sadie Olsen, was instrumental in the school’s development as a cofounding board member.  </p> <p>Not only does WIHS support academic growth, the school also supports physical, cultural, emotional, economic, and spiritual learning and development. Cindy Reuther, WIHS co-founder and CEO, believes all students are looking for academic success, and she shared what led her to open a charter school. </p> <blockquote>“Institutional barriers (racism, classism, heterosexism) have created situations for many students who are currently underserved in our traditional school systems. Marginalized students in Whatcom County are looking for safe spaces to grow, learn, and develop as whole people.”<br /> - Cindy Reuther, co-founder and CEO of Whatcom Intergenerational High School</blockquote> <p>WIHS is dedicated to helping students take ownership of their learning, consider multiple perspectives, and apply real-world methods and tools to help create positive change. </p> <blockquote> <p>“Our model is co-designed with students --- as students move through their learning experiences and studies, they eventually create their own units of study based in their individual and group interests and passions.”<br /> - Cindy Reuther, co-founder and CEO of Whatcom Intergenerational High School </p> </blockquote> <p>Students are encouraged to think on a deeper level to gain an understanding of how issues impact their own lives as well as their communities. Through morning circles, students have an opportunity to build relationships with community allies who will help nurture their interests and help them evolve into critical thinkers.</p> <blockquote> <p>“We are intergenerational, rooted in Phenomenon-Based Learning which provides opportunities for students to engage in multidisciplinary academic experiences with community; based in critical literacy, students learn that all texts (literature, art, music, documents) are created with a particular viewpoint.” <br /> - Cindy Reuther, co-founder and CEO of Whatcom Intergenerational High School</p> </blockquote> <p>Students are taught to recognize different agendas and pay close attention to the factors that contribute to them. Elders also play an important role at WIHS to help mentor students and share their experience and cultural knowledge.  </p> <p>WIHS uses a holistic approach to learning, ensuring students grow academically and gain self and cultural awareness. The team is committed to ensuring students, “regardless of their life circumstances, develop the competencies and agency for success in college, career, and life.” </p> <p>Learn more about <a href="https://www.intergenerational.school/">Whatcom Intergenerational High School</a>.</p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/back-school" hreflang="en">Back to School</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <h2>Comments</h2> <div class="fb-comments" data-href="https://www.publiccharters.org/latest-news/2021/08/30/new-schools-new-opportunities-success-whatcom-intergenerational-high-school" data-width="100%" data-numposts="5"></div> </section> Thu, 26 Aug 2021 17:57:48 +0000 Melinda 27723 at https://www.publiccharters.org New Schools, New Opportunities for Success: Breakthrough Charter School https://www.publiccharters.org/latest-news/2021/08/27/new-schools-new-opportunities-success-breakthrough-charter-school <span>New Schools, New Opportunities for Success: Breakthrough Charter School</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/brittnee" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Brittnee</span></span> <span>Wed, 08/25/2021 - 15:44</span> <div class="uppercase field field--name-field-news-item-types field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/latest-news/category/blog" hreflang="en">Blog</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-author-bio field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/about-us/staff/brittnee-exum" hreflang="en">Brittnee Exum</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-pub-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2021-08-27T12:00:00Z">August 27, 2021</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image-media field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><article class="media media-image view-mode-display"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/images/2021-08/individual-schools_batch2_v1_MarionAL_250x250.png?itok=y1QDBj1R" width="250" height="250" alt="breakthrough charter school" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> </article> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><em>This feature is part of the National Alliance's 2021 <a href="https://www.publiccharters.org/tags/back-school"><strong>Back to School Month campaign</strong></a>.</em></p> <p>Breakthrough Charter School in Marion, Alabama serves Pre-K through eighth grade. The school’s core values are scholarship, leadership, diversity, and community.</p> <p>We caught up with the Founding Head of School and <a href="https://www.publiccharters.org/about-charter-schools/charter-school-trailblazers/30-under-30-changemakers-award">30 Under 30 Changemaker</a> Darren Ramalho who shared more on how Breakthrough Charter School was created.</p> <p><strong>What led you to open a charter school? </strong></p> <p>The idea of Breakthrough started with parents and community leaders more than two years ago. Families in the traditional public and private schools believed an additional school choice for the community would benefit the Black Belt region academically and economically. We then began hosting community forums, Chat and Chews, and focus groups to better understand what elements would need to exist to build an effective school. The local colleges also expressed their support of opening a new school in the community, offering resources and opportunities to collaborate.</p> <p>Simply put, Breakthrough Charter School is the product of our community, a grassroots effort. I am honored to have helped with the educational design of the school and look forward to leading a school that really leans into its core values. </p> <p><strong>How did you develop the school’s core values?  </strong></p> <p>These core values emerged through numerous conversations with community stakeholders. Families and community members believed a new school in Marion would set high academic expectations, teaching students to develop holistically as civically-minded, critically thinking human beings. Community members and families also stressed the importance of a diverse learning environment, recognizing that our differences make us stronger.</p> <p>We are working to develop future leaders through our educational models, equipping our students with the skill set to be innovative problem solvers. Community members played a significant role in founding Breakthrough Charter School. As a result, we plan to partner with numerous organizations in the area to instill community pride in our building, celebrating what makes our community and context a beautiful, special place. </p> <p><strong>How would you describe your school’s approach to learning? </strong></p> <p>Our model embeds theory and application. At Breakthrough, we not only challenge our students to learn content, but we also motivate our students to learn skill sets, such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and collaboration, that will prepare students for life in their postsecondary pursuits.</p> <p>Project-based learning and service-learning are critical pieces of our educational model, as we believe these learning structures align with our school's mission, vision, and core values. These models engage students with content and build connections through real-world application. These models also engage our families and community members.</p> <p>Additionally, Breakthrough's implementation of a social-emotional learning curriculum will help students develop their emotional intelligence, supporting students as they process how their thoughts and feelings influence their actions.  </p> <p><strong>What are your plans to incorporate student voice into your school?  </strong></p> <p>Student voice is another important piece in ensuring Breakthrough Charter School is supporting the needs of our students. When it comes to our service-learning model, Breakthrough students will have the opportunity to work with local partners to identify needs in our school and community and imagine/implement long-lasting solutions. Through our partnership with Marion Military Institute, the nation's oldest military college, cadets (students) from Marion Military Institute will found a leader’s club and student government association, teaching students to be advocates for themselves in our space. Also, students will be able to sit on some school-wide committees to offer input and suggestions. </p> <p><strong>Is there anything else you would like us to know about your charter school? </strong></p> <p>Our partnership with community organizations, such as Marion Military Institute and Main Street Marion, an economic revitalization organization, played a pivotal role in bringing Breakthrough Charter School to Marion. We are thankful for the families and students supporting our mission, vision, and core values. Our faculty and staff offer a range of experience and expertise that truly makes our learning environment transformational. This is just the beginning for Breakthrough, and we could not be more excited! </p> <p>Learn more about <a href="https://breakthroughcharterschool.org/">Breakthrough Charter School </a>in Alabama.</p> <img alt="Breakthrough Charter Academy staff and school leader Darren" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="b200360c-12d0-49e5-bba2-67a4cd746802" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Breakthrough_Darren.jpg" class="align-center" /> <p><em>Brittnee Exum is the manager of communications and marketing at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.</em></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/back-school" hreflang="en">Back to School</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <h2>Comments</h2> <div class="fb-comments" data-href="https://www.publiccharters.org/latest-news/2021/08/27/new-schools-new-opportunities-success-breakthrough-charter-school" data-width="100%" data-numposts="5"></div> </section> Wed, 25 Aug 2021 19:44:07 +0000 Brittnee 27706 at https://www.publiccharters.org Tackling Drop Out Recovery with Music https://www.publiccharters.org/latest-news/2021/08/26/tackling-drop-out-recovery-music <span>Tackling Drop Out Recovery with Music</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/melinda" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Melinda</span></span> <span>Thu, 08/26/2021 - 11:05</span> <div class="uppercase field field--name-field-news-item-types field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/latest-news/category/blog" hreflang="en">Blog</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-pub-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2021-08-26T12:00:00Z">August 26, 2021</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image-media field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><article class="media media-image view-mode-display"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/images/2021-08/Music%20Producer_Stock%20Photo%20%281%29.png?itok=lyttI22r" width="250" height="250" alt="Music producer stock photo" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> </article> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><span><span>We say that if you’ve been to one charter school you’ve been to… one charter school. Every school is unique and serves students who are different—different learning styles, motivations, and interests. And charter schools, like the <a href="http://hsra.org/">High School for Recording Arts</a> (HSRA) in St. Paul, Minnesota, truly cater to those differences.</span></span></p> <p><span><span>At HSRA, students learn reading, writing, and self-management while they create YouTube videos. And not just any YouTube videos—major companies, like Verizon Wireless and State Farm Insurance, have hired HSRA students to create their public service announcements.</span></span></p> <p><span><span>The school was founded as a pilot program in 1996 and became a charter school in 1998, with a focus on addressing the dropout crisis in the St. Paul community. As with many charter schools, the program got its start when a member of the community saw a need and drew on his own experience. School founder David TC Ellis struggled in school and was kicked out of two high schools before transferring to St. Paul Open School, where the hands-on learning style and strong student-teacher relationships helped him flourish. Before founding HSRA, he produced a double-platinum record with Prince. <a href="https://centerforschoolchange.org/2019/01/prince-passion-persistence-and-open-school/">Read more about his experience</a>.</span></span></p> <p><span><span>Over the past 25 years, HSRA has grown from 15 students to 300, with graduates going on to produce music for internationally acclaimed artists, such as Lauryn Hill, Trey Sonz, and Mos Def. As one of the earliest-founded charter schools in the country, HSRA has helped many students find their path forward when other schools left them behind.</span></span></p></div> <section> <h2>Comments</h2> <div class="fb-comments" data-href="https://www.publiccharters.org/latest-news/2021/08/26/tackling-drop-out-recovery-music" data-width="100%" data-numposts="5"></div> </section> Thu, 26 Aug 2021 15:05:02 +0000 Melinda 27721 at https://www.publiccharters.org New Schools, New Opportunities for Success: DREAM Mott Haven Middle School https://www.publiccharters.org/latest-news/2021/08/25/new-schools-new-opportunities-success-dream-mott-haven-middle-school <span>New Schools, New Opportunities for Success: DREAM Mott Haven Middle School </span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/brittnee" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Brittnee</span></span> <span>Tue, 08/17/2021 - 15:19</span> <div class="uppercase field field--name-field-news-item-types field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/latest-news/category/blog" hreflang="en">Blog</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-author-bio field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/about-us/staff/brittnee-exum" hreflang="en">Brittnee Exum</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-pub-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2021-08-25T12:00:00Z">August 25, 2021</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image-media field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><article class="media media-image view-mode-display"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/images/2021-08/individual-schools_batch2_v1_TheBronxNY_250x250.png?itok=1ex0Lohn" width="250" height="250" alt="Newly opening this fall: DREAM Mott Haven Middle School in The Bronx, NY" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> </article> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><em>This feature is part of the National Alliance's 2021 <a href="https://www.publiccharters.org/tags/back-school"><strong>Back to School Month campaign</strong></a>.</em></p> <p>All Kids Can—this statement is a core belief held by every member of the team at DREAM Mott Haven Middle School<strong> </strong>in New York, where students are encouraged to dream big and are equipped with the tools to reach their full potential. This will be DREAM's fifth school and the second location in the Bronx. </p> <p>Jennifer Khan has been a part of the DREAM family for 13 years and is serving as the school’s principal. We sat down with her to talk about her excitement about the new school's opening: </p> <p><strong>What are you looking forward to the most in your new role as principal? </strong><br /> In my new role as principal, I am looking forward to continuing to build our DREAM family. I am so excited to be a part of the team that gets to bring our Grow the Whole Child Model to a new set of students and families in Mott Haven. DREAM has so many amazing things to offer, from youth-led academics, social-emotional learning, youth choice, and our work with families.</p> <p>I feel honored to be able to build a team that is passionate and equally excited to offer this and more to the Mott Haven community.</p> <p><img alt="Jennifer Khan, principal of DREAM Mott Haven Middle School, a new charter school in The Bronx" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="225d7125-170f-4585-919d-8604b2d0a613" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Blog%20%28250px%29_1.png" class="align-right" /> <strong>What makes DREAM Mott Haven Middle School unique? </strong><br /> The opening of our school this fall is a continuation of what DREAM has been working toward for 30 years: leveling the field by empowering all children to recognize their potential and realize their dreams. Our schools serve a population that is largely comprised of children who identify as Hispanic and/or Black, where 89% qualify for free or reduced lunch programs, and 27% identify with special needs.</p> <p>Traditionally, children in DREAM's communities have not been given the agency or resources to dictate their futures. Through our schools, our community programs, our post-secondary support,, and our commitment to our Grow the Whole Child Model, DREAM is creating lifelong learners who are equipped to fulfill their vision of success in and out of the classroom. <br />  <br /> <strong>Please describe the “Grow the Whole Child Model.” </strong><br /> Our Grow the Whole Child education model is all about the promises we make to our families—the things we’ll never compromise on. Rigorous academics, social-emotional learning, athletics, health, and wellness, and family and community engagement are all equal, crucial parts of every day at DREAM. We see each pillar as interconnected and, combined together, they form our 360-degree approach to not only learning, but the development of our students into individuals who live full lives and have agency over their future. <br />  <br /> <strong>What will the first day of school look like? </strong><br /> DREAM is planning for a 100% in-person reopening this fall, continuing to utilize the health and safety practices that allowed DREAM to remain open during the 2020-21 academic year.</p> <p>On the first day of school, we want to learn about our youth and families and begin building our school community. We will be spending a great deal of the day developing rituals and routines to strengthen our school pride, ensure that everyone is safe, and set our students, teachers, and families up for success. <br />  <br /> <strong>What are your plans to incorporate student voice into your school? </strong><br /> Student voice is very important for our school. We want our students to be active participants in their learning. Students will have multiple opportunities to share their insights and tell us about what is working best for them. This can happen in their classrooms with teachers, in advisory sessions with advisors, in their extracurriculars and afterschool programs, or even in a conversation with school leadership.</p> <p>We want to make sure we are offering activities that are engaging and spark the interests of our students, and the best way to do that is to ask the students directly.  </p> <p>Learn more about <a href="https://www.wearedream.org/"><strong>DREAM Mott Haven Middle School</strong></a>.</p> <img alt="Photo of DREAM charter school classroom" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="4fe3a09f-de06-4157-93f3-4ca999ec181b" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/D3S_3514.jpg" class="align-center" /> <p><em>Brittnee Exum is the manager of communications and marketing at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.</em></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/back-school" hreflang="en">Back to School</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <h2>Comments</h2> <div class="fb-comments" data-href="https://www.publiccharters.org/latest-news/2021/08/25/new-schools-new-opportunities-success-dream-mott-haven-middle-school" data-width="100%" data-numposts="5"></div> </section> Tue, 17 Aug 2021 19:19:06 +0000 Brittnee 27601 at https://www.publiccharters.org Getting the Facts: 4 Myths about Charter Schools https://www.publiccharters.org/latest-news/2021/08/23/getting-facts-4-myths-about-charter-schools <span>Getting the Facts: 4 Myths about Charter Schools</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/melinda" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Melinda</span></span> <span>Fri, 08/20/2021 - 12:47</span> <div class="uppercase field field--name-field-news-item-types field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/latest-news/category/blog" hreflang="en">Blog</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-author-bio field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/about-us/staff/melinda-tolliver" hreflang="en">Melinda Tolliver</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-pub-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2021-08-23T12:00:00Z">August 23, 2021</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image-media field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><article class="media media-image view-mode-display"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/images/2021-08/dyk_v1_250x250.png?itok=LS2zCOYc" width="250" height="250" alt="Myth or Fact? Charter school edition." typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> </article> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>After the disruption of the past two school years, many schools across the country are reopening their doors for in-person learning and excitement levels are high.  </p> <p>In celebration of <a href="https://www.publiccharters.org/tags/back-school"><strong>Back to School Month</strong></a>, we’re sharing the myth-busting facts and figures on innovative public schools—also known as charter schools—changing the game for public education. Join in by sharing out some of your favorite facts! </p> <h3><strong>Myth #1: Charter schools are not public schools. </strong></h3> <p>The fact is, all charter schools are public schools as defined by federal and state law. Here are the three reasons that make charter schools public schools: </p> <ol start="1"> <li> <p>Charter schools are tuition-free and open to all students who want to attend. They do not have any kind of admissions process—no essays, interviews, or auditions. </p> </li> </ol> <ol start="2"> <li> <p>Charter schools are held to the same academic standards that all public schools are required to meet. </p> </li> </ol> <ol start="3"> <li> <p>Charter schools are publicly funded by local, state, and federal tax dollars based on enrollment, like other public schools. </p> </li> </ol> <p>Say it with us: Charter schools are ALWAYS public schools. </p> <center><a href="https://ctt.ec/W8KUd"><img alt="Myth: Charter schools aren't public school | Fact: Charter schools are ALWAYS public schools" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="5c1c978f-ec87-45a0-99da-eb90e9ded7be" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Tweet%20This%20Blog%20Graphic.png" class="align-center" /></a></center> <h3><strong>Myth #2: Charter schools are for-profit.</strong>  </h3> <p>We hear this a lot, but guess what? There is no such thing as a “for-profit” charter school! All charter schools are nonprofit entities with a mission to put kids first.  </p> <p>Now, charter schools may, in certain states, choose to contract with a business that offers management services. But all public schools—district and charter—contract with businesses for items like text books and school supplies, and services like plumbing and cafeteria service. I think we can all agree this blanket, inaccurate term does not apply.  </p> <p>All public schools are here to serve students! Charter schools raise the bar of public education in every community they serve. </p> <center><a href="https://ctt.ec/1cTQe"><img alt="Myth: There are &quot;for-profit&quot; charter schools. Fact: All charter schools are nonprofit entities that put students first. Always." data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="731e7515-271f-4271-a284-0b71e8778215" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/CTT%20Myth%20There%20are%20For-profit%20Charter%20Schools.png" class="align-center" /></a></center> <h3><strong>Myth #3: Charter schools are not held accountable.  </strong></h3> <p>In fact, charter schools introduce an unprecedented amount of accountability into public education. If a charter school isn’t succeeding for students and families, it can be shut down.  </p> <p>In addition to operating as public schools, charter schools are also responsible for adhering to the promises laid out in their charter agreement—another layer of accountability. The charter school’s authorizer is responsible for enforcing these rules. If they don’t, the charter school will no longer serve students and families. </p> <p>This all means charter schools are held directly accountable by their families and communities, in addition to public school standards! You can’t say that for all public schools. </p> <center><a href="https://ctt.ec/gb25z"><img alt="Myth: Charter schools aren't held accountable. Fact: Charter schools introduce an unprecedented amount of accountability into public education" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="92c342e9-ebb1-44bf-9a14-e56f79428f97" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/CTT%20Myth%20Charter%20Schools%20Aren%27t%20Held%20Accountable.png" class="align-center" /></a></center> <h3><strong>Myth #4: Support for charter schools is dropping.</strong></h3> <p>There’s a reason charter school enrollment increased by 62% between the 2011-12 and 2018-19 school years. Parents and families believe they work for their children and charter schools have shown that they do.  </p> <p>A recent poll conducted by Morning Consult found that 58% of parents support charter schools—and that level of support grows to 70% the more they learn about these innovative public schools. </p> <p>During the pandemic, we’ve seen an unprecedented level of growth in charter school enrollment. And as parents learn they have options in their children’s education, we expect this trajectory to continue.   </p> <center><a href="https://ctt.ec/9s72n"><img alt="Pie graph with showing support among parents for charter schools is at 58% based on what they know and grows to 70% after learning more" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="b1e115a8-527e-40fc-b231-4e93dc2635a5" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Tweet%20This%20Blog%20Graphic%20%281%29.png" class="align-center" /></a></center> <p>The bottom line? Charter schools are public schools that make public education better for all students, despite the common myths. </p> <p> </p> <p><em>Melinda Tolliver is the senior manager of digital strategy at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.  </em></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/back-school" hreflang="en">Back to School</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <h2>Comments</h2> <div class="fb-comments" data-href="https://www.publiccharters.org/latest-news/2021/08/23/getting-facts-4-myths-about-charter-schools" data-width="100%" data-numposts="5"></div> </section> Fri, 20 Aug 2021 16:47:48 +0000 Melinda 27661 at https://www.publiccharters.org Changemaker Hopes for the New School Year: London Carter Williams https://www.publiccharters.org/latest-news/2021/08/20/changemaker-hopes-new-school-year-london-carter-williams <span>Changemaker Hopes for the New School Year: London Carter Williams </span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/brittnee" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Brittnee</span></span> <span>Tue, 08/17/2021 - 14:51</span> <div class="uppercase field field--name-field-news-item-types field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/latest-news/category/blog" hreflang="en">Blog</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-author-bio field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/about-us/staff/brittnee-exum" hreflang="en">Brittnee Exum</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-pub-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2021-08-20T12:00:00Z">August 20, 2021</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image-media field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><article class="media media-image view-mode-display"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/images/2021-08/student-blog_v1_C_250x250.png?itok=i0GTjupo" width="250" height="250" alt="back-to-school London " typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> </article> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><em>This feature is part of the National Alliance's 2021 <a href="https://www.publiccharters.org/tags/back-school"><strong>Back to School Month campaign</strong></a>.</em></p> <p>London Carter Williams is a student author and one of our 30 Under 30 Changemakers. She wrote her first book at the age of 11 titled, “<a href="https://www.our1stprotest.com/">Our 1st Protest</a>,” about her experience at a march for equal rights. London is a rising eighth grader at Brass City Charter School in Connecticut where she is looking forward to her new algebra I class, field trips to the nation’s capital, and being a part of the middle school graduating class.</p> <p>During the summer, she attended Holiday Hill Day Camp and participated in lots of activities such as archery, dance, arts and crafts, sports, swimming, and more. Among all the things to do, London says swimming was her favorite. When London returns to school, she is also looking forward to cheerleading. She loves her school environment—especially the teaching staff, the organized learning system, and her small class sizes.</p> <p>London plans to write a follow-up book to “Our 1st Protest.” London says, “I want readers to know they can do anything they put their minds to.” For any students London’s age who would also like to write a book, London encourages students to avoid overthinking and to “just go for it!”</p> <center><iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/GKPoV19Af7c" title="YouTube video player" width="560"></iframe></center> <p> </p> <p><em>Brittnee Exum is the manager of communications and marketing at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools</em></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/back-school" hreflang="en">Back to School</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <h2>Comments</h2> <div class="fb-comments" data-href="https://www.publiccharters.org/latest-news/2021/08/20/changemaker-hopes-new-school-year-london-carter-williams" data-width="100%" data-numposts="5"></div> </section> Tue, 17 Aug 2021 18:51:18 +0000 Brittnee 27600 at https://www.publiccharters.org Student Survivor Turned Advocate: Nathan Ream Explains His Hopes for the 2021 School Year https://www.publiccharters.org/latest-news/2021/08/18/student-survivor-turned-advocate-nathan-ream-explains-his-hopes-2021-school <span>Student Survivor Turned Advocate: Nathan Ream Explains His Hopes for the 2021 School Year </span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/brittnee" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Brittnee</span></span> <span>Tue, 08/10/2021 - 11:04</span> <div class="uppercase field field--name-field-news-item-types field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/latest-news/category/blog" hreflang="en">Blog</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-author-bio field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/about-us/staff/jennifer-diaz" hreflang="en">Jennifer Diaz</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-pub-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2021-08-18T12:00:00Z">August 18, 2021</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image-media field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><article class="media media-image view-mode-display"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/images/2021-08/Nathan%20Ream%2C%20Back%20to%20School%202021_0.png?itok=pnFaBgOM" width="250" height="250" alt="Nathan Ream, Back to School 2021" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> </article> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><em>This feature is part of the National Alliance's 2021 <a href="https://www.publiccharters.org/tags/back-school"><strong>Back to School Month campaign</strong></a>.</em></p> <p>You can describe Nathan Ream as many things—high school senior, gamer, friend, Disney-enthusiast. But the most important descriptor is survivor. Being a Lymphoma cancer survivor has fueled Nathan’s drive to give back, help others, and raise money to support blood cancers treatments and research.  </p> <p>The National Alliance caught up with the <a href="https://www.publiccharters.org/about-charter-schools/charter-school-trailblazers/30-under-30-changemakers-award">30 Under 30 Changemaker</a> as he is getting ready for the first day of his last year in high school. </p> <p>First things first, we asked him how his summer went. As a true Florida kid, a weekend at Walt Disney World was the first answer. “It helps to live two hours away, so traveling isn’t a pain,” Nathan said. He also took time over the summer to volunteer at the local shelter for the homeless. Service and giving back to his community are important to Nathan.  </p> <p>As a senior at <a href="https://www.baymeadowscharter.org/">Duval Charter High School at Baymeadows</a>, Nathan is most looking forward to seeing his friends and teachers. Priority #1: restarting the Zoo Club, as it was inactive during the pandemic. The zoo club sponsor and teacher, a former Jacksonville Zoo staffer, keeps two small lizards and a frog in the classroom, and the club enjoys interacting with these friendly reptiles. Nathan enjoys learning about animals and their habitats and volunteering at the zoo.    </p> <p>Nathan is also thankful for the immense support his school provided during his cancer and for helping him be an advocate.</p> <p>“What I think makes my school unique is that the staff and faculty want to help you. During my time raising money for the Leukemia &amp; Lymphoma Society, my school was open to sharing what I was doing on their social media platforms and on their own website.” </p> <p>In addition to studying and gaming with friends, this year, Nathan will continue his advocacy work and raising funds to fight blood cancers. “I think doing so shows other people like myself that they could help with the goal of crushing cancer. If someone were to decide to show support for someone who is sadly battling cancer, something little like shaving your head could show a good gesture. Or you <a href="https://givenow.lls.org/give/342076/#!/donation/checkout">could give monetarily</a> to groups that have a mission to fight cancer, like the <a href="https://www.lls.org/">Leukemia and Lymphoma Society</a>.” He’s even got his classmates to join in the campaign to raise awareness.  </p> <p>Thank you, Nathan, for being a Changemaker in your community and an advocate for cancer research and support!</p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/back-school" hreflang="en">Back to School</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <h2>Comments</h2> <div class="fb-comments" data-href="https://www.publiccharters.org/latest-news/2021/08/18/student-survivor-turned-advocate-nathan-ream-explains-his-hopes-2021-school" data-width="100%" data-numposts="5"></div> </section> Tue, 10 Aug 2021 15:04:06 +0000 Brittnee 27530 at https://www.publiccharters.org Changemaker Hopes for a New School Year: Gitanjali Rao https://www.publiccharters.org/latest-news/2021/08/16/changemaker-hopes-new-school-year-gitanjali-rao <span>Changemaker Hopes for a New School Year: Gitanjali Rao </span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/brittnee" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Brittnee</span></span> <span>Mon, 08/09/2021 - 13:43</span> <div class="uppercase field field--name-field-news-item-types field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/latest-news/category/blog" hreflang="en">Blog</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-author-bio field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/about-us/staff/brittnee-exum" hreflang="en">Brittnee Exum</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-pub-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2021-08-16T12:00:00Z">August 16, 2021</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image-media field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><article class="media media-image view-mode-display"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/images/2021-08/student-blog_v1_B_250x250.png?itok=7iYlhLtq" width="250" height="250" alt="Gitanjali Rao, Back to School 2021" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> </article> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><em>This feature is part of the National Alliance's 2021 <a href="https://www.publiccharters.org/tags/back-school"><strong>Back to School Month campaign</strong></a>.</em><br /> <br /> When student scientist and <strong><a href="https://www.publiccharters.org/about-charter-schools/charter-school-trailblazers/30-under-30-changemakers-award">30 Under 30 Changemaker</a></strong> Gitanjali Rao isn’t working on saving the planet—she’s playing the piano, trekking with her family, spending time with friends, or watching movies. She's also a rising junior at STEM School Highlands Ranch, a charter school in Colorado.</p> <p>We recently talked to Gitanjali about what she is looking forward to the most during the new school year.</p> <p><strong>What did you do over the summer?  </strong></p> <p>My summer was filled with activities. It included several hikes in the local mountains and few vacations locally. I also attended the Tribeca Film Premier for 3M’s <strong>“<a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/brand-studio/wp/2021/06/17/feature/the-changing-face-of-science/">Not the Science Type</a>”</strong> to influence the next generation that scientists are not age, color, or race-specific. I conducted my innovation workshops for more schools across the globe and reached about 50,000 students across five continents.  </p> <p><strong>What do you like most about connecting with thousands of students from around the world? </strong></p> <p>I feel a sense of moral responsibility to share that there is an inequality in the opportunity for students worldwide in terms of resources. For example, some schools are introduced to typing and the internet as STEM lessons while others introduce coding, 3D printing, and cybersecurity as STEM lessons. Things I have taken for granted, such as clean drinking water and basic school necessities such as books, the internet, and qualified teachers, are not easily available everywhere. It helped me learn about different cultures, tolerance levels, and the value of hard work. It warms my heart to see these students’ responses that they were unaware of certain options, resources, and tools available.  </p> <p>I started this program to introduce STEM and innovation to students, but I learned from them and fostered lifelong relationships. I have received heart-warming responses of encouragement and inspiration with detailed discussions in classrooms that sparked other innovations, which are invaluable. Thank you cards and feedback from teachers and students across the world inspire me to help others because every student deserves an education with opportunities. Students from Kakuma refugee camp just sent me pictures where they have started their STEM classes with the help of my book. Helping the community that inspires students with a can-do attitude is very self-satisfying. I am fortunate to get support from my mentors at an early age for some of my innovations.  </p> <p><strong>What are you looking forward to most about the new school year? </strong></p> <p>I am definitely looking forward to meeting my teachers and friends in-person. For the last 1.5 years, I have attended virtual classes, so this will be exciting. For the first time, I will be taking courses at University of Colorado, Denver as a dual enrollment. I am both excited and nervous. I have to improve my time management skills that will allow me to continue conducting these sessions from school lunch breaks, study halls, or before and after school, in addition to continuing my research projects. </p> <p><strong>Will you be participating in any extracurricular school activities? </strong></p> <p>Yes, I will still continue my research at the University of Colorado, have planned collaborations with organizations to conduct more of my innovation workshops across the globe, in addition to piano, fencing, and glider lessons. I hope to get my flying license when I turn 16 in November. </p> <p><strong>What do you think makes your school experience unique? </strong></p> <p>I can dream of grand plans to influence a global innovation movement in addition to my academics because my school is very supportive and flexible. Our teachers are willing to guide and motivate us to continue our journey, no matter our passion, besides school. </p> <p>I believe developing our problem-solving mindset, providing the flexibility, and the opportunities we are given to try makes our school unique. My school has partnerships with organizations where we can extend our learning to apply what we learned as interns whether it is in a STEM, finance, or social policies and law field. </p> <p><strong>What first interested you in the STEM field? </strong></p> <p>There was no specific instance that was an “aha” moment for STEM. There was always an encouragement to think differently, try different things, and draw ideas or solutions. Problem-solving became a habit using tools and knowledge we have read or heard about. I still remember playing games at home with parents and friends, where we would be given impromptu problems and we would come up with solutions at home. The focus was on creativity, use of technology, usability, and our ability to communicate the idea concisely.  </p> <p><strong>How can readers help support your efforts?  </strong></p> <p>I request educators be supporting mentors for students and introduce innovation earlier in the curriculum. My book, <strong><a href="https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/A-Young-Innovators-Guide-to-STEM/Gitanjali-Rao/9781642938005">A Young Innovator’s Guide to STEM</a></strong>, provides a guide for teachers with simple lesson plans and includes a list of competitions and contests for students. Create your own Innovation clubs in your schools with a goal to encourage innovation. With part of the proceeds from my book, I donate my book to students in refugee camps or Title 1 schools. Organizations can support me by sponsoring events and facilitating innovation workshops for lower economic area schools that may otherwise not get the opportunity. </p> <p> </p> <p><em>Brittnee Exum is the manager of communications and marketing at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.</em></p> <p><em>If you are interested in connecting with Gitanjali, contact grao.eventrequest@gmail.com. </em></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/back-school" hreflang="en">Back to School</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <h2>Comments</h2> <div class="fb-comments" data-href="https://www.publiccharters.org/latest-news/2021/08/16/changemaker-hopes-new-school-year-gitanjali-rao" data-width="100%" data-numposts="5"></div> </section> Mon, 09 Aug 2021 17:43:39 +0000 Brittnee 27502 at https://www.publiccharters.org